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Fueling The GPS

We in the world of ADHD professionals talk often about the importance of an early diagnosis so that treatment can begin and allow strategy development for impairments to success.

That makes sense.  Knowing the diagnosis allows the child to begin to understand, to strategize, to compensate….and to begin whatever treatment works, whether it be medication and/or behavioral therapy.

But what should follow all of this is self-advocacy.  Because despite how far along we have come in the understanding of ADHD, it is still crucial for our kids to be able to speak up when they need help.  That is a journey that perhaps needs a GPS.  By that I mean, a child may not always know how to self-advocate, when they should self-advocate, the positive outcomes of self-advocacy, and the need to overcome feelings of inadequacy when the need is there to advocate despite accommodations or modifications that are in place.

A client is in a school for learning differences.  He has a D+ in Physics based on a lab.  The mom finds out that the class went over many of the questions in the lab but her son missed completing two part questions and didn’t label a graph.  The assumption by the teacher is that it is the end of the day and the child has missed detail.

In our discussion, I prompt other possible scenarios:  lack of comprehension, conversation too fast to process, and boredom.

These are all possible impairments that relate to ADHD.  But in this case, this student sat silent.  And what was the result?  Low self-esteem related to having not been able to make a stand and a low grade to begin the year.

Our kids have to fully understand ADHD and how it affects them.  They have to know that not everyone understands and will not always reach out to support.  We as parents have to make sure they understand themselves…and as a result, provide the necessary GPS to self-advocate in every venue that is seen to be needed.

Blog post by Karen Lowry, R.N.,M.S.N.,  a Parent2Parent ADHD Family Trainer for CHADD and ADHD Coach, AAC.